One popular TV pundit calls us the ‘folks.’ Some ‘superstars’ refer to us as ‘average people.’ Sometimes we are just numbers in statistics–usually skewed to advance an agenda we don’t support–sometimes we are called ‘fans,’ ‘consumers,’ ‘followers,’ ‘voters,’ and, most probably, we will never have a reality television show about our lives, nor will our death be mourned on the national news.
But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t significant.
I know you expect me to spew religious rhetoric about being created in the ‘image and likeness of God,’ and all that. Adding that Jesus would have suffered for you and I alone. I believe this to be true. And millions upon millions of decent people would agree with me.
But I would like to prove personal significance on another level.
The historical, ‘existential,’ experiential level.
How many Hollywood stars are there who have relied on ‘nobody’ Paramedics to save their lives after 911 calls? How many influential, powerful politicians are there who have had to call ‘nobody’ Police officers to save them from danger? How many intellectual elites are there, who bitch and moan about American atrocities abroad, who rely on ‘nobody’ Marines to protect their freedom to bellyache from their ivory towers?
Why are some first trimester babies deemed mere ’tissue,’ while others go on to live the life of luxury? Why do we place so much importance on the Hollywood lifestyle, the Washington powerful, the Ivy League elite, and the mainstream media, when they are, more often than not, cosmetically enhanced, corrupt to the core, and out of touch with reality? Why are they judged as special?
Since when is traditional marriage, responsible parenting, good citizenship, small business ownership, Christian discipleship, and traditional values a sign of insignificance?
Since when is significance measured in beauty and youth and largeness and riches? When did grandpa’s advice become insignificant? When did the birth of a 7 pound baby not change our lives? When did a wave hello from a neighbor, on a bad day, not point us toward a better mood? Who cannot name at least 2 or 3 amazing people in our lives that wouldn’t have surprised us in their unexpected beauty before we met them?
When a certain concentration camp prisoner was saved from death by the heroic voluntarism of Maximillian Kolbe, his human dignity was immortalized by the fact that the great saint didn’t sacrifice his life for him because of his largeness or his smallness, but for the simple fact that he was a fellow human being, a brother in this life.
So the next time you go through the Supermarket, or any other public place, be thoughtful of your own weaknesses and inadequacies before you ascribe insignificance to another person. For that person may just be the one to save your life.